The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Posts Tagged ‘imputed righteousness’

Faithless Leaders

Posted by israeliteindeed on May 21, 2014

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.” (Num. 13:1-2)

Consider that the ten men who gave the Israelites  a bad report about the Promised Land, discouraging them so much they wanted to return to slavery, were their LEADERS.  These were leaders directly answerable to Moses. And instead of going before them into battle, demonstrating faith in God’s Word, they told the people their situation was hopeless!

Like those leaders answered to Moses, today’s pastors are answerable to Jesus. Jesus is THE Leader of His Church, faithful to the Father just as Moses was faithful (Heb. 3:2). Pastors should be in tune with the Holy Spirit, faithfully proclaiming all that is written. A true pastor must be a Joshua or Caleb, reminding the people that God can be trusted and that we must not rebel against Him through unbelief–and ready to demonstrate not just the talk, but the walk.   Unfortunately, for every Joshua or Caleb that stands and exhorts the people, “We are well able to overcome!”  there are many more who tell the people, “Oh no we can’t!  They are stronger than we!” (Num. 13:30-31)

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. (2 Pet. 2:1-2)

Hear their lies in our modern speech:  We all have to sin every day in thought, word and deed. God understands. You can be positionally righteous while being practically unrighteous. God doesn’t see your sin. All He sees is Jesus when He looks at you. If you don’t feel saved because you are a continual sinner, that’s only condemnation from the devil. There is no condemnation!  Nothing can pluck you from His hand, not even your rebellion! You’re FREE IN CHRIST now…free to sin and not feel any guilt! He’ll never leave you nor forsake you even if you forsake Him!

These are the lies of the ten unfaithful spies who have spied out the land of Christianity and decided holiness is not possible. But since they can’t tell people Jesus is a liar, they reinvent Christianity so they can pretend to still be leading people to Jesus even though Jesus is being blatantly disobeyed.

Imagine telling the Israelites who were still stuck in the wilderness they had already made it into the promised land. Well, I know there is no milk and no honey, and I know your enemies are always getting the upper hand, and you haven’t taken a square foot of territory, but here we are in the land of Promise!  Isn’t it wonderful?  Positionally in the Land, while practically out of it!  Now if you ever feel discouraged that you never win a battle, just tell the devil he is a liar!  Reject all condemnation!  God doesn’t see your faithlessness!

There is no freedom in delusion. God has not called us to pretend to attain victories while still obviously defeated, but to experience real victories! These false teachers speaking lies lead those who have once escaped error (pictured by the Israelites escaping Egypt) straight back into bondage. And it is a twisted bondage that pretends to be free.  It is a rebellion against God masquerading as Christianity.

For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” (2 Pet. 2:18-22)

There is a great need for Joshua’s and Caleb’s today–people who will wholly follow the Lord and lead others on that same path even at personal risk (Joshua and Caleb were nearly stoned.)  There is a need to be spiritual people rather than sensual people–people who make decisions based on eternity rather than on this moment’s feelings.  There is a need to stand up and directly contradict the false message of defeat. There is a need to walk after the Lord and proclaim His unchanging Word even if the whole professing Church seems to be drawn to lies rather than Truth.  There is a need to be unspotted from the world, even when the leaders declare that friendship with the world is not really enmity with God.

There is a rest for the people of God–a Promised Land–a glorious choice Vine in which there is Life forevermore. And through Him we can surely overcome our flesh, the world and the devil.

Be careful who you follow. Not all leaders are leading us Home.

Posted in Apostasy, Backslider, False Teachers | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Speaking Sound Doctrine

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 13, 2012

Titus 2 begins with “As for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine,” and ends with “Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority.” Sandwiched in between are teachings that constitute the “sound doctrine” which ought to be spoken.

In brief, the chapter includes requirements for character and conduct for older men, younger men, older women and younger women. Then it gives the proper definition of saving grace, and sums up how we should live in the present age with these three words: soberly, righteously, and godly. It ends with a reminder that Jesus died to redeem us from every lawless deed (He saves His people from their sins not just the penalty of sin), and His goal is to purify for Himself a peculiar people who are zealous for good works.

In today’s apostate religious environment, it is almost impossible to speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine without being labelled a pharisee, a legalist, a person working for salvation, or a false teacher who doesn’t understand grace.  Standards for character and conduct are considered outdated.  The grace of God has become a cover behind which we can sin willfully, rather than the gift of God’s teaching to an obedient disciple that it really is.  And God forbid you are zealous for good works; people will shake their heads at your misplaced zeal and call you a heretic for sure.

When apostasy from the truth is wide-sweeping and extreme, a person going against the flow by embracing and teaching the truth will seem like the extreme one.  He will have to be content to be the “odd man out” and the heretic and the pharisee, because most will not receive him. Yes, he will be beaten in the synagogues (figuratively, if not physically) and rejected. His name will be cast out as evil for the Son of Man’s sake. He will speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine–the doctrine which accords with godliness (I Tim. 6:3)–and because he has done so, he will be rejected as the worst kind of sinner. This is because in many of today’s apostate religious circles, the greatest sin is to stop sinning, and the surest sign of your salvation is your willingness to admit that you never stop sinning.  It is both ironic and heartbreaking to see people embracing such strong delusion because they have pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thess 2:11-12) and do not want to repent.

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Tim. 2:19)  Make no mistake;  wicked behavior and the excusing of wicked behavior are both contrary to sound doctrine (I Tim. 1:9-10).  Those who continue in such can expect the judgment and fiery indignation that God is going to pour out on His adversaries (Heb. 10:26-31).

Sincere disciple of Jesus–

  • Continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine as the early church did (Acts 2:42).
  • Obey the doctrine to which you have been delivered, that you may be freed from the slavery of sin, and live as a slave of righteousness (Rom. 6:17-18).
  • Hold fast the faithful Word as you have been taught, that you may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict (Titus 1:9).
  • Teach this sound doctrine and no other (I Tim. 1:3-4).
  • Note people who seek to divide you from this doctrine (the doctrines of Christ, His apostles and prophets recorded in all Scripture–2 Tim. 3:16-17) and avoid them (Rom. 6:17).
  • Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables (2 Tim. 4:2-4).
  • Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you (I Tim. 4:16).
  • Abide in the doctrine of Christ and do not transgress, lest you no longer have the Father or the Son (2 John 1:9).

God bless you!

Posted in Apostasy, Calvinism, Legalism | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Imputed Righteousness–A Transference of Righteousness?

Posted by israeliteindeed on December 12, 2011

A pastor recently told me that when I was born again, all my sin was transferred (imputed) to Christ, and all His righteousness was transferred (imputed) to me.  How much of my sin was transferred to Christ, he asked?–ALL of it.  Therefore, even future sins would never be “imputed” to me.

I do not believe this view of “imputed righteousness” is correct, and I believe it leads to a whole host of other sin-excusing doctrines, including the infamous “once-saved-always-saved.”  After all, if my future sins cannot be imputed to me, then I have no reason to even feel guilty for them. According to this version of “imputed righteousness,” I can be positionally righteous even while being practically wicked. Or, as some would say, God doesn’t even see my sin–all He sees is Jesus. (Please click here for a refutation of that doctrine.)

Because “imputed righteousness” is a term used in the Bible, and misused and abused by so many teachers, it is imperative that the Christian learn what this term means in biblical context.

Some of the most common verses used to support the doctrine of a transferred righteousness are Psalm 32:2,  Rom. 4:5-25, and James 2:23.  We will look at each passage separately, and I hope to show you that the word “imputed” does not mean “transferred” at all!  Nowhere in Scripture does it expressly say that the obedience or personal righteousness of Christ is transferred to believers, although it is true that Christ’s atoning sacrifice makes our forgiveness possible.

1. Psalm 32:2

Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. (Psa. 32:2)

The context of this verse is David’s adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, and his repentance after being confronted by the prophet Nathan. The previous verse (Psa. 32:1) states, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” David was simply thankful for the blessedness of not having his past sins of adultery and murder counted against him AFTER he repented and was forgiven by God!  If David had not repented of his wickedness, his transgressions would not have been forgiven, his sin would not have been covered, and his iniquity would have been imputed to (counted against) him.

2.  Rom. 4:5-25

5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

6Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Here, Paul reviews Psalm 32:2, showing how God imputes righteousness without works. David was not counted as righteous because he worked off his sins of adultery and murder, but because he was forgiven after he repented. It was his faith, working together with his repentance, that was counted for righteousness; the verse does not say that Christ’s perfect obedience was somehow transferred to David. The imputation of righteousness, then, happens at the moment of forgiveness.   A forgiven person is counted as having never sinned and is therefore counted as righteous. 

Please notice the Scriptures do not say that David’s sins were ever unseen by God, but only that they were forgiven by God (and his forgiveness was contingent upon repentance.)  The modern-day doctrine of imputation says God doesn’t even see your sin because Christ’s perfect obedience has been transferred to your account so that God sees Jesus rather than the sinner and his sin.

Notice also the use of the word “imputed” in verse 6 means the same thing as “counted” in verse 5.  David was counted as righteous once he was forgiven by faith.

 9Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

13For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

Here, Paul is explaining to Gentiles that even “Father Abraham” was justified by faith, not by conformity to the law of circumcision, and he is the father of physically uncircumcised people who also walk in like faith.  Again, notice that the use of the word “imputed” in verse 11 carries the same meaning as the word “reckoned” in verse 9. The truth being taught here is that righteousness is imputed to (reckoned to) the believer by faith, rather than by keeping Jewish law; therefore salvation is open to all Gentiles who will exercise faith like Abraham. Anyone who repents and believes according to the gospel can have their sins forgiven, and righteousness imputed to (reckoned to) them.  In other words, they can be reinstated to a right relationship with God, and their debt of sin can be cancelled or erased–THIS is imputed righteousness.

Nowhere do we see a transference of God’s righteousness to the believer as a covering behind which they can continue in sin, but rather a righteousness (clean record) which belongs to the believer by faith and because of forgiveness. 

20He [Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

 24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Again, we see that it was Abraham’s patient faith in God’s Word which was imputed to him for righteousness. He possessed “the righteousness of faith” (vs. 13).  It was not that God’s righteousness was being transferred to him, but that his own faith was counted for righteousness, and his sins were forgiven. And verse 24 tells us that we too can be considered or reckoned righteous if we have the same faith toward Jesus.

3. James 2:23

And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

This Scripture is right in the middle of James’ teaching that faith without works is dead. James reminds us that Abraham offered his son Isaac in obedience to God, and his faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect.  According to James, it was this faith made perfect by works that became the basis for righteousness being imputed to him!  Again, nothing here suggests that the “righteousness of Christ” or “Christ’s perfect obedience to the law” was somehow transferred to his account, so that his future sins could be ignored.  Imputed righteousness is simply reckoned righteousness. Abraham was considered righteous in God’s sight because God had forgiven his sins.

To briefly summarize this paper, I believe that “imputed righteousness” is not a transference of Christ’s righteousness to our account, but a personal righteousness that is granted when a person repents and exercises saving faith, and God forgives his sins and declares him righteous (unblemished by sin.)  If a person–after being forgiven and declared righteous by God–returns to his sins, his righteousness will not be remembered (Eze. 3:20; 33:13).  Therefore, to the one who thinks he can hide present-tense sins behind a transferred “righteousness of Christ,” I repeat John’s words, “Let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” (I John 3:7)

For more in-depth study on this subject, please read Imputed Righteousness by Jesse Morrell.  Jesse includes all the uses of the Greek word (logizomai) from which we get “impute” in the Bible,  as well as its equivalent in Hebrew (chashab)–this is very helpful in understanding the application of the word.

God bless you.

Posted in Calvinism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Sin Boldly?

Posted by israeliteindeed on October 28, 2011

Martin Luther is credited with saying the following:

“If you are a preacher of grace, then preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here [in this world] we have to sin. This life is not the dwelling place of righteousness, but, as Peter says, we look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. It is enough that by the riches of God’s glory we have come to know the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day. Do you think that the purchase price that was paid for the redemption of our sins by so great a Lamb is too small? Pray boldly—you too are a mighty sinner.”

Dear reader, I hope you shuddered in horror at these words. I would like to specifically zero in on this portion:  Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here [in this world] we have to sin. 

Replacing the word “sin” with the word “murder” we have this:  Be a murderer and murder boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.  Or how about this: Be an adulterer and commit adultery boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly. Or perhaps your favorite sin is lying:  Be a liar and lie boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.  Do you steal? Be a thief and steal boldly! Just make sure you believe and rejoice in Christ more boldly!

Some may accuse me of taking Martin Luther’s words out of context, but I assert that his words have been used as a license to sin by many, and indeed seem custom-made for the job!  He said you can murder a thousand times a day and still remain in Jesus Christ! Have you ever heard such blasphemy? I know Luther is a revered reformer, but Christ’s sheep hear His voice and they follow Him. They will not follow the voice of the stranger, and this is the voice of a stranger if I’ve ever heard one. Test the spirits by which men speak!  Never assume that someone honored by others is the friend of your soul.

To the shamed adulterer, Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11)

To the man whom He had healed from a 38-year infirmity, Jesus said, “Sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you.” (John 5:14)  What could be worse than 38 years of perpetual infirmity?

Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” (I Cor. 15:34)

He also wrote, “Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Rom. 6:15-16)

Again, Paul wrote to Timothy, “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ DEPART FROM INIQUITY.'”  (2 Tim. 2:19)

The Apostle John testified that he wrote his epistle “that you may not sin.” (I Jn. 2:1)

Peter wrote of false teachers who would deny the Lord who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction. How do they deny the Lord?–through disobedience and teaching disobedience to the Lord’s servants. For they profess to know God, but in works they deny Him. Some of their distinguishing marks are:  they will receive the wages of unrighteousness (because they are unrighteous), they count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime (not even blushing for their sins, but doing them boldly even in the company of the Christian church), and they have eyes full of adultery, and they cannot cease from sin (2 Pet. 2:1-14; Titus 1:16).

They cannot cease from sin! Though Jesus said to cease from sin and gives victory over sin to those who abide in Him, and though His apostles taught that we must cease from sin and obey Jesus, these teachers not only cannot cease from sin in their own lives, but they also teach others, “Be a sinner and sin boldly…as long as we are here, WE HAVE TO SIN.”

Do you hear the hiss of the deceiver in those terrible words?

Please do not misunderstand me. I know that Luther stood against the darkness of the catholic church, and I believe he started out on the right foot and even helped some to escape their slavery to the Roman church. However, he had some gross error, and this error about sin has likely led millions to deny the Lord who bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  Luther was a man so taken with his concept of “faith alone,” that he wanted to cut the book of James out of the Bible. Why? Because James wrote, “A man is justified by works, and not by faith only” and “faith without works is dead.” (James 2:20-24)

Dear reader, I am grateful that if I do sin, I have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  However, the goal is NOT TO SIN. When we were reunited with our Father through the atoning death of Jesus, it was not to continue a life of sin until the day we die.  We came back to the Father as dear children who love and obey their Father, not just because He has authority and power, but because He has proven His love and kindness in Jesus Christ. Death is not our Savior from sin; Jesus is our Savior from sin. Jesus will save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). Is Jesus Christ in you? Examine yourselves, to see if you be in the faith. Is His Spirit leading you, and are you walking in step with Him?–if so, then you are not fulfilling the lust of the flesh. The righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in those who walk after the Spirit (Gal. 5:16; Rom. 8:4).

Beware of any teacher, no matter how famous, who comes teaching you to walk after your flesh as boldly as you please. Beware of men who make you feel secure in Christ while you follow your flesh. They will say “God doesn’t see your sin; He only sees Jesus.” Or “The righteousness of Jesus is imputed to you even if you commit fornication or murder a thousand times a day!”  Do not be deceived. God will not be mocked, and those who live according to their flesh will DIE the second death. Though satan may whisper through his angels of light, “You will not surely die,” be assured that God’s warnings are true, and the wages of unrighteousness is still death.

God’s true servants always turn people toward obedience to God.

Thus says the LORD of hosts:

“ Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you.
They make you worthless;
They speak a vision of their own heart,
Not from the mouth of the LORD.
They continually say to those who despise Me,
‘ The LORD has said, “You shall have peace”’;
And to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say,
‘ No evil shall come upon you.’”
For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD,
And has perceived and heard His word?
Who has marked His word and heard it?
Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD has gone forth in fury—
A violent whirlwind!
It will fall violently on the head of the wicked.
The anger of the LORD will not turn back
Until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart.
In the latter days you will understand it perfectly.
“ I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran.
I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
But if they had stood in My counsel,
And had caused My people to hear My words,
Then they would have turned them from their evil way
And from the evil of their doings.
“ Am I a God near at hand,” says the LORD,
“ And not a God afar off?
Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?” says the LORD;
“ Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD.

~Jer. 23:16-24

God bless you.

Posted in Christian Life, False Teachers | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

God Sees Your Sin, Pt. 3

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 23, 2011

In the previous post, I wrote out some Scriptures from the Old Testament that demonstrate that once being chosen and favored by God does not make one exempt from living a life pleasing to Him. After entering into covenant with God, one’s future sins are not invisible to God. Many members of “the chosen people” did not inherit the promise because they did not continue to obey the Lord; their carcasses fell in the wilderness, and these things were recorded to warn us that such can happen to us (I Cor. 10:1-12).  Now I would like to examine some New Testament texts that confirm our need for obedience to the Lord after being born into His family, and the consequences for disobedience.

A favorite doctrinal component of Calvinism is that if you have ever believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, or ever had a moment of true faith, His personal righteousness has been imputed to your account once-for-all, and is the only thing God will ever see when He looks at you in the future. In other words, even if you live a wicked life after that and die in sin, God can’t see it; all He sees is Jesus when He looks at you.  If such were true, then not only will He continue to see us as obedient when we disobey, He will be mocked.  He said we would reap what we sow, but we really won’t! He said the wages of sin was death, but we have found a loophole whereby we can sow to our flesh and not reap corruption! He is not only blind, He can’t chastise His children when they do wrong, since He can’t see their sin!

Complete hogwash!

One wonders how God could ever see the righteous acts of the saints, if He can’t see their sin! Do NOT be deceived by these teachings; God will not be mocked. If we sow to our flesh we WILL reap corruption, and God DOES chastise His children when they do wrong. (Gal. 6:7-8; Heb. 12:7) The eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good. (Prov. 15:3) The Lord is wearied when people falsely say that evildoers are good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them (Mal. 2:17). People who do what is wicked are wicked; only he that does righteousness is considered righteous in the eyes of the Lord (I John 2:29; 3:7).

Jesus taught the following:

The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves…shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (Jn. 5:28-29)

In Matthew 7:21, Jesus taught the importance of DOING the Father’s will (righteousness), not just acknowledging or SAYING “Lord, Lord.” So important is it to DO the teachings of Christ, that the man who DOES them is likened to a house that survives a storm, while the man who does not DO them is likened to a house that is destroyed in the storm for lack of a proper foundation.  Friend, you ARE that house, and you are determining the final destiny of your house by whether or not you are submitting to Christ and doing God’s will. This is FOUNDATIONAL to your spiritual life.  Remember, King Jesus will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend (cause sin) and all persons who do iniquity, and cast them into the furnace of fire (Matt.13:41-42). So serious it is to get the sin out of your life, Christian, that Jesus said it would be better to cut off an offending body-part than to have your whole body “cast into hell.” (Matt. 5: 29-30)

So what if you don’t do as Jesus said, and deal a death blow to the sin in your own life?  Is all automatically forgiven because of His blood shed on the cross?

If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.  He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:   of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 10:26-29)

Friends, this Scripture destroys the license-to-sin doctrine.  If you willfully continue to sin after being sanctified, you are treating the precious blood of Jesus as an unholy thing!  God sees it and views you as worthy of much sorer punishment than the punishments inflicted on those who disobeyed Moses’ law!  When Ananias and Sapphira sinned in the church, was their sin hidden from God’s view? On the contrary, Peter, speaking by the Holy Ghost, rebuked them publicly. Their judgment was swift, and caused the fear of God to fall on the people who heard about it. Paul instructed Timothy to deal with sin in the church in like manner:

Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.   I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.   Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.  (I Tim. 5:20-22)

Instead of following the right ways of the Lord, many in the church instead excuse or overlook flagrant sin, letting it spread like leaven through the whole lump. After all, if a person is considered positionally righteous even when they are doing unrighteous things, then who are they to judge?  False teaching is so dangerous!! Paul instructed the Corinthian church to put the sinner out of the church until he repents!! (I Cor. 5)  To refuse to do so is to be a partaker in other men’s sins and to become defiled.  Remember, the pure religion that pleases God includes keeping oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:27); this presupposes that God sees when we become “spotted.”

In Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus–who is God–addresses the church. Does He only see His own righteousness when He looks at them, or does He assess them exactly according to their own works, and command repentance when necessary?  Indeed, Jesus makes some startling threats toward those who will not repent!

“Thou hast left thy first love.  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Rev. 2:4-5)

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.  So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.   Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Rev. 2:14-16)

I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.  Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.   Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.  Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.   He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.  (Rev. 3:1-5)

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.  (Rev. 3:15-19)

Please study those two chapters in full, and you cannot fail to see that all the beautiful promises of God are specifically for overcomers. We must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). There is no easy way; the easy way taken by most is the wide road that leads to destruction. We must die to ourselves, and strive [make every effort, agonize] to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. (Luke 13:24)

Peter wrote that because the judgment of God is coming, and because we look forward to a new heaven and earth where only righteousness dwells, we must be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless…and beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (2 Pet. 3:14, 17)  The righteous can be led away with the error of the wicked and fall? Yes!

Paul wrote of those who swerved away from love, a clean conscience, and sincere faith, and so had left the path of life and had only “vain jangling” or “meaningless talk”–the emptiness of religion without God (I Tim. 1:5-6). He wrote that some who had not held onto faith and a “good conscience” (they defiled and hardened their conscience by disobedience), had shipwrecked their faith! (I Tim. 1:19) He wrote that any who refused to provide financially for their own widows had, by his wickedness, denied the faith, and was worse than an infidel (I Tim. 5:8). He wrote that some younger widows, being idle and gossipers, had already turned aside after Satan. (I Tim. 5:15)  In fact, Paul recognized that he himself was not immune to falling away:

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.   And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.   I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:   But I keep under my body [keep my flesh crucified], and bring it into subjection [to God’s will]: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (I Cor. 9:24-27, brackets mine)

Paul recognized he could be cast away even after all his dedicated service to God! Just as a man who wants to win a race must be disciplined, so must the Christian life be disciplined, for “if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” (2 Tim. 2:5)  It is possible to begin the spiritual race and not finish the course, which is why we are urged to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and…run with patience [endurance].” (Heb. 12:1)  It is possible to engage in “the good fight” and not compete lawfully, being finally disqualified.

In 2 Peter 2, Peter wrote of false teachers who bring in damnable heresies [such as once-saved-always-saved or “God doesn’t see your sin”], even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  Peter describes these false teachers as having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices. Beware if your spiritual teacher shamelessly claims he cannot cease from sin, and that we must all sin every day in thought, word and deed! They teach such lies because they themselves are spiritually adulterous, loving the things of this world, especially the adoration and financial support of others who love sin and wish to have their ears tickled with sin-excusing lies.  Such teachers allure through the lusts of the flesh those who were clean escaped from them who live in error.  While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. And so these wolves pretending to be ministers teach the flock of God that they have “liberty in Christ” to sin all they want! But when a man serves sin, he becomes the slave of sin! His so-called liberty is false! Don’t be deceived. Peter called these who had at first escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and were again entangled therein and overcome worse off than they were before they knew the Lord!  They were like dogs returning to lick up the vomit they had expelled, or pigs washed from their filthiness returning to their filth.  Truly this is receiving the grace of God in vain!

Dear reader, it is possible to deny the Lord by your disobedient works (Titus 1:16). Consider this carefully:

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Tim. 2:19)

This is the foundation of the Lord, and will not change despite the empty promises of false teachers.  How do you then depart from iniquity? David said a man could cleanse his way by taking heed to God’s Word (Psa. 119:9)  It is by abiding in Christ that His good fruit will be manifest in your life (John 15).   I John 3:6 teaches that whoever abides in Jesus does not sin! When you go astray, it is directly due to your not abiding in Christ.

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.  (John 15:7)

Paul said, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:2-3)  We must CHOOSE the things above or the things of this earth. We must CHOOSE to mortify our members which are on this earth, and to follow the things that please the Lord, because the wrath of God is coming on the children of disobedience (Col. 3:5-6).

Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy post!  I hope it is clear to you that in both Old and New Testaments, God’s covenants with men are conditional. If you have not already, please study both testaments on your own, asking God to open your understanding to the Truth. He has promised wisdom to those who ask, and He has promised to be found of those who seek Him with their whole heart.  He is the God of love, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and purify for Himself a peculiar people zealous for good works. His grace teaches us to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:11-14). I pray that you do not receive the grace of God in vain! I will leave you with this powerful statement by the Apostle Paul:

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Rom. 8:13)

God bless you!

Posted in Backslider, Calvinism, Christian Life, Once Saved Always Saved, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

God Sees Your Sin, Pt. 1

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 20, 2011

One of the fallacies that is repeated in many churches is that when you become a Christian, all sins–past, present, and future–are forgiven, and God no longer acknowledges your present or future sin.

This belief, although prevalent today, does not adhere to either logic or Scripture.

To embrace this doctrine is to assume that God cares so little about His own righteous laws and the people He created, that he gives a blank check–a license to sin– to all who were ever sorry for sin at one time.

The reason this error (that God doesn’t see our sin) is so readily embraced is because people WANT to believe it. Often they want to believe it is because they don’t want to give up their sin. But it simply isn’t true. If you are a sinner clinging to this refuge of lies, please understand that any false refuge will disappoint you in the day of judgment.  It is imperative for you to know and obey the truth if you want to be truly free.

Do we really think that the righteous moral Governor of the universe, whose laws are good and right and lead to the happiness of all men, forgives criminals in such a way that they can continue to be criminals against God and men without consequence?  Is the God of Love willing to pardon criminals unconditionally, even while they continue their crimes against others? How loving is that toward those being sinned against?  Would any earthly government worth its own salt operate this way–freely pardoning criminals who have no intention of stopping their crimes? Would you want a child molester pardoned once for all, even if he continued to molest? How loving or merciful would that be to the children he continued to hurt? Wise love must look out not only for the transgressor’s welfare, but also for the welfare of those who have been hurt by the transgression, and those who will continue to be hurt if the transgressor’s heart is not changed.  The criminal must stop committing crimes.

A sinner is a person who breaks God’s laws (I Jn. 3:4). The reason he needs to be forgiven and “saved” is because he has not obeyed the law of God, but has chosen his own way and justly deserves death.  The reason there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood is because sin is very serious!! Simply pardoning a criminal does not erase the crime already committed, nor does it always reform the criminal’s heart to curb future offenses. The shedding of innocent blood for the guilty (under both Old Covenant and New Covenant) was meant to bring about a heart change in the criminal–he must hate the crime he committed, recognizing that it brought harm to everything that is good, if he is ever to become a voluntarily law-abiding citizen–and this is God’s goal, to make voluntary law-abiding citizens in His Kingdom!  In fact, all “things that offend, and them which do iniquity” will be cast out of His Kingdom into a furnace of fire (Matt. 13:41-42).  The Kingdom of God is for those who willingly submit to its King.  The blood of Jesus displayed the tremendous mercy of God toward His enemies, and is meant to produce a holy hatred for sin in the repentant soul.  It is able to cleanse away not only the sin committed but also guilt in the conscience.

The giving of oneself to sin/lawlessness produces slavery in the soul (Rom. 6:16). A man needs supernatural help to escape from this slavery. And so God sent His Word to heal us, He proclaimed His gospel of salvation to us, and He shed His own blood to change our hearts from rebellious to submissive, to atone for sin, and to erase the guilt of our past crimes so that we are free to serve Him as fully forgiven children.

Past crimes? Not present and future crimes too?

Christ Jesus:  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the REMISSION OF SINS THAT ARE PAST, through the forbearance of God. (Rom. 3:24-25)

While it is true that the body of Jesus Christ was offered “once for all” (Heb. 10:10), when we come repenting of a life of rebellion against God, we come to the King and ask forgiveness for having been lawless citizens in the past. It should be understood that we must lay down our arms and surrender if we wish to be pardoned!  We come as those whose hearts have been moved and changed by the self-sacrifice of this King–though we once proudly resisted Him, now we know He is all-wise, all-loving, all-merciful, and worthy to be obeyed. We come ready to submit to the King’s commands from henceforth because we know that in His commands is life (John 12:50).   We come as those sorrowful for our past sins, ready and willing to take His good yoke upon us and learn from Him the way we should walk in–we intend to be lawless citizens no more. Beloved, if we do not come to the King of the Universe this way, we do not receive a real salvation. Sorrow for sin brings repentance unto salvation (2 Cor. 7:10), and this salvation is the salvation from sin’s bondage. It is not merely a get-out-of-jail-free card. No, Jesus did not die so that you could admit you are a sinner, say “thanks” in a trite prayer, and continue to sin without consequence. He died to set you free from sin, to purify for Himself a peculiar people who are zealous to do good (Titus 2:14). He commands you to abide in Him and follow Him continually, so that you can produce good fruit instead of the evil fruit you produced when you followed your flesh!

Listen to the inspired words of Peter:

His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature (holiness!), having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;  and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;  and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

For if (IF!) these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Unfruitfulness will lead you to being separated from the Vine and thrown into the fire!–John 15.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be burned!–Matt. 3:10)

But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (Purged from old sins, not future sins.)

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if (IF!) ye do these things, ye shall never fall:  for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  (2 Pet. 1:3-11)

Clearly, there are conditions to never falling. The doctrine that all sin–past, present, and future–is forgiven in a moment, and God chooses to blind Himself to our behavior for the rest of our lives, is a doctrine that reassures sinners and encourages them to stay on the wide road that leads to destruction.  When they experience guilt for their sin, they tell themselves there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, forgetting that the rest of the verse defines “those in Christ Jesus” as being those who are not obeying their flesh, but are obeying the Spirit of God. (Rom. 8:1, KJV) Sometimes they try rebuking the devil for their guilt, instead of confessing and stopping the sin that is causing the problem!

Walking with Christ (salvation) is characterized by freedom from sin and willingly serving righteousness.  Though we used to yield our bodies as servants of sin, now we yield our bodies as servants of righteousness unto holiness (Rom. 6:18, 19).  He that commits sin is of the devil, and Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (sin) in our lives, not to merely overlook them. Only he that does what is righteous is considered righteous in the eyes of the Lord, which are in every place, beholding both the evil and the good (I Jn 3:1-9; Prov. 15:3).

Now, it is still possible to sin after being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore–

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:  and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.  He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. (I John 2:1-6)

The goal is to sin not, but if a man sins, he can be reconciled to God through the advocate Jesus Christ, returning to keeping His commandments once again, and walking as Christ walked. His sin can be cleansed away–

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (I Jn. 1:9)

Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, guides us and corrects us. We have a responsibility to listen to His voice and follow Him (Jn. 10:27), submitting to His correction if we go astray.

My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. (Prov. 3:11-12)

The Lord chastens us “for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness,” without which, no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:10,14). But–hear this warning–“he, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” (Prov. 29:1)

There are more passages of Scripture that teach that our present and future behavior has a direct bearing on our final salvation, and these we will discuss in a future post. God bless you!

Go to Part 2

Posted in Backslider, Calvinism, Christian Life, Once Saved Always Saved, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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